ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Civil Air Patrol Cadets return to Dickinson

The Dickinson Civil Air Patrol Cadet program dissolved a few years ago but is now making a comeback. Second Lieutenant Laura Roy and First Lieutenant Michael Roy, both members of the senior Civil Air Patrol squadron, have been working to re-start...

The Dickinson Civil Air Patrol is starting up again and open to anyone ages 12 and up to join. The squadron meets Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Berg Elementary. Photo by Ellie Potter/The Dickinson Press
The Dickinson Civil Air Patrol is starting up again and open to anyone ages 12 and up to join. The squadron meets Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Berg Elementary. Photo by Ellie Potter/The Dickinson Press

The Dickinson Civil Air Patrol Cadet program dissolved a few years ago but is now making a comeback.

Second Lieutenant Laura Roy and First Lieutenant Michael Roy, both members of the senior Civil Air Patrol squadron, have been working to re-start the cadet program for about a year now, Laura said.

CAP has three missions: aerospace education, emergency services and the cadet program, she said. Children ages 12 and up can join the cadet program and adults are also welcome to join the senior members of the squadron.

It began in the late 1930s after more than 150,000 volunteers asked for an organization where they could use their aviation talents to help defend the nation, according the CAP website.

Members of CAP were the first to take aerial footage of Ground Zero after the Sept. 11 attack, Laura said. They also assist in local search and rescue missions, serving as additional emergency responders. The young adults in the cadet program learn about aerospace and leadership, as well as how to fly a plane and assist in emergency situations - both of which they get to take part in.

ADVERTISEMENT

"It's such a good program for kids," Laura said. "There's not a lot of activities to offer here in Dickinson for children, that's non-sport related. I think there is a great sports program here in town, but for children who don't like sports or don't want to be involved in sports I think this will be really great for them."

The program costs $31 a year for the national fees, which includes all the books, online materials and tests, which cadets use to increase their rank throughout the program. The local squadron also has monthly dues of $5 to offset the costs of awards and social events.

The squadron has money left over from the previous cadet program and intends to hold some fundraisers and apply for a grant in hopes to rebuild its fund. The uniform for the program is the most costly aspect-running about $300, she said. But she intends to give some families scholarships for the uniform from the existing money in an effort to keep the cost from deterring any student from participating.

In order to get to fly, a cadet has to pass their first test, which they are eligible to take after eight weeks. Five of these flights are in gliders and five are in regular planes, and the cadets are given the wheel once they are in the air, Laura said.

"That's kind of how we got our son hooked," Laura said. "My son has a neurological disease ...but he can't do regular sports, and all he has ever wanted to do is be a pilot. And so through the Civil Air Patrol program, these children can kind of get their feet wet and then take private lessons but use the Civil Air Patrol planes for their private lessons and become a private pilot by the age of 16."

The squadron used to be active in community service as well working with the Chamber of Commerce and local businesses to help with parades and community events, she said.

A highly motivated cadet could complete the entire program in about 36 months if they ranked-up about every eight weeks, Michael said. But less than 1 percent of cadets complete the program in its entirely, he said, citing the difficulty of the program as well as the dedication it requires of young people.

However, there are benefits for those who do. Cadets interested in the U.S. Air Force Academy have a high likelihood of being accepted if they have completed the cadet program. The Air Force may also award scholarships to students attending college based on what levels of the program they have completed, but cadets are under no obligation to join the military, Laura said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Dylan Hale, Bismarck High School Senior and Chief Master Sergeant of the Bismarck squadron, said that being a member of CAP had given him confidence he could not have imagined before joining.

"The Civil Air Patrol just taught me to go out and try to set myself up to succeed," Hale said. "Instead of having other people push me to go out and do things, it taught me to go out and be an advocate for myself."

The squadron meets Thursdays, excluding holidays, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Berg Elementary and is open to the public.More information can be found on their Facebook page: Civil Air Patrol: Roughrider Composite Squadron.

What To Read Next
The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
The Dickinson Police Department responded to numerous calls for service over the past week, and these are just a few highlights of the incidents that occurred.
Dissenting city commissioner objects to rebranding, citing unknown cost, lack of public input and historical connection with old logo.
“Let’s put this in the rearview mirror,” Sen. Michael Diedrich, a Rapid City Republican said.